How Long Does It Take Water to Freeze? Why & How To Freeze Water the Fastest

by Jay | Updated on July 15th, 2022

Many people have probably pondered at some point in their lives how long it takes for water to freeze.

It’s not critical knowledge, but it can come in handy in some instances (for example, when we need to freeze something liquid for a party or simply make some ice).

blue and black bird on gray concrete blocks

The other day, I had some folks round for dinner and wanted ice for beverages. I kept checking the ice cube tray to see if it was frozen (which was a bad idea because it let warm air in). It made me curious about how long it takes for water to freeze.

How long does it take for water to turn to ice?

A regular ice cube tray of water takes roughly 3 to 4 hours to freeze.

The temperature is 0° F (-18° C) in a normal freezer.

If your water is cold or hot, it will freeze even faster (around 45 minutes). This is known as the Mpemba effect.

If you fill the ice tray’s 12 compartments with room temperature water and place it in the freezer, it will take three to four hours for the water to freeze. If you use a smaller container, a metal container, or a cooler freezer, it will take less time to freeze.

That is the average time for frozen water in a conventional ice cube tray and refrigerator, but it will vary in other situations.

Freezing water is not as straightforward as you may believe. The speed at which the amount of frozen water determines water freezes, the freezer’s capacity and power, and the container used.

Continue reading to find out how long it takes for water to freeze. Then you’ll know when the ice cubes are ready for your party!

Let’s start with the science.

The time it takes for water to freeze into ice cubes follows.

Finally, we’ll examine how long it takes for water to freeze in a dedicated ice machine and a water bottle.

What takes place when water is affected by frost

crystal gemstones

We all know that the freezing point of water is 0 degrees Celsius, which we learned in school. So let’s review some elementary physics to understand what processes occur as it begins to freeze.

Water, like any other liquid, is recognized to be made up of constantly moving molecules.
When it is heated, the molecules travel much quicker; when it cools, they move much slower.

While heating causes molecules to move so quickly that they begin to evaporate and transform into a gas, freezing has the opposite effect. When exposed to frost, molecules become so sluggish that they begin to connect, causing water to harden into a solid crystal.

Unlike many other liquids, water expands in the hard state and becomes denser than it was in the liquid state.

At what temperature does water freeze?

Water’s freezing point is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, as you may have heard. Although this is theoretically correct, it depends on the water used. Even in ice-cold weather, a huge body of water, such as a lake or a deep pond, takes weeks to freeze, whereas a glass of water can freeze instantly.

Because a glass of frozen water will not help you entertain your guests at a party (and even less so in a lake or pond! ), you’ll need to concentrate on the freezing water temperature in something practical for drinks (i.e., ice cubes).

Why does it take that long to freeze water?

Ideally, the freezing time, or the time it takes to drop the temperature of your water, can be influenced by a variety of factors, including:

1. The quantity of water

The trick is that the less water there is, the easier or, the shorter the time it takes for the water to freeze. The truth is that because water has a lower mass, it requires less energy to transport the same warmth to its surroundings, resulting in a shorter time to freeze.

2. Temperatures in the environment

This is to say that the actual temperatures in the surrounding environment are quite important. For example, suppose you wish to freeze your water below the current or actual freezer temperatures. In that case, it will take considerably longer to freeze your water because you will have to modify the temperatures to the preferred one instead of when the freezer is already set to lower.

3. Thickness of the water

The notion is that the thicker the water, the longer it takes to freeze. If your water is salty, it will take longer to boil since it is thicker than freshwater, which will take less time to boil because it is thinner.

4. Temperatures of the water

Water temperatures, once again, play a significant role in how long it takes for water to freeze. The longer it takes for water to freeze, the warmer it is, and vice versa.

In a typical freezer, how long does it take for a regular ice cube tray loaded with water to freeze?

Ice cubes will typically take three to four hours to freeze in most circumstances when a regular home freezer is utilized. This is the typical time to freeze water in a conventional ice cube tray with 12 square areas.

At 0°C (32°F), water freezes. However, the actual freezing time will be determined by various factors. Because of these factors, your freezing time may differ from your neighbor’s.

Container Dimensions

The ice cube tray size is one aspect that will influence the freezing time. The majority of ice cube trays are made up of 12 tapered cubes. Of course, if the cubes are small, the freezing time will be shorter. However, if they are larger, the water within them will take longer to freeze.

Container design

The freezing time is also affected by the design of the ice tray. There are ice trays with dividers between the tapered cubes, and there are ice trays with air spaces between the empty cubes.

The surface area of the water in the first design is less than the surface area in the second design. The second design contains air spaces between the cubes, whereas the first design has separators to separate the cubes from each other.

As a result, the surface area of the water in the second design is bigger than in the first. From the outside in, ice begins to form. As a result, the greater the surface area of water exposed to cold temperatures, the faster it will freeze.

The temperature in the freezer

The third aspect to consider is the temperature of your freezer. Home freezers are typically set to 0°F or (-) 18°C. However, if you open your freezer frequently or load it with room-temperature food while making ice, the temperature inside the freezer will rise. This will shorten the time it takes for the water within the ice cube tray to freeze.

The amount of time it takes for water to freeze in a dedicated ice machine.

Home ice producers are comparable to commercial ice machines, although they are smaller. They are usually referred to as countertop ice producers. This equipment can freeze water faster than standard freezers used in household refrigerators.

A dedicated ice machine may freeze water in as little as two hours. This is how long it takes for room temperature water to freeze into standard-sized ice cubes.

Inside an ice maker, a metal tray is connected to compressor coils. The compressor circulates the refrigerant, carried straight to the metal tray by the coils. This is known as direct freezing, the same procedure used by large ice makers.

Instead of filling the tray with water, the dedicated ice maker runs water over the tray. Keep in mind that the tray is already extremely cool. As a result, ice crystals grow quickly on the tray. More ice crystals form as the water continues to trickle over the tray. Water freezes significantly faster, practically instantly than a home fridge freezer, which takes hours to do the same job.

There is also an advantage if you use a specialized home ice maker. Because there will be no contaminants, you will receive truly crystal pure ice. They are ideal for cold beverages and cocktails. Ice crystals begin to develop from the exterior. As a result, the gases and minerals in the water are driven to the tray’s center.

In a standard freezer, they will generate an unappealing white cloud in the center of the ice. Because of the action of the cascading water, you won’t get that white cloud in the middle of a specialized ice machine. The contaminants will not be trapped at the center of the ice due to the cascading water. Every time, you will get crystal clear ice.

What effect does altitude have on how water freezes?

The freezing point of water is observed to be lower at sufficiently high altitudes because height is nearly atmospheric pressure from a chemistry standpoint. However, this is little, as the pressure created by being at such high elevations is insufficient to induce any significant change in the freezing temperature of the water.

However, being in an open container without internal pressure will cause the water to remain liquid at the exact temperature of 32°F if using a freezer with extremely precise temperature control.

This can be explained by lowering the freezer temperature by one degree if present at the top of a mountain or even in an airplane. The freezing point depression caused by air pressure can be overlooked at 31°F.

Alternatively, the water can be enclosed in an airtight container constructed of a strong enough material to withstand pressure variations. When water is sealed at normal atmospheric pressure and transported to high elevations, it should maintain its typical freezing temperature if the pressure is not released beforehand.

Freezing time for various water capacities

To better evaluate and understand the difference, let’s look at the duration of the frost exposure process for various liquid contents.

How long does it take to freeze a cup of water?

Two hundred milliliter liquid tank will take roughly three hours to harden completely.

How long does a gallon of water take to freeze?

One gallon in a strong freezer will most likely freeze after remaining there overnight. Other factors, however, must be addressed.

How long does it take to freeze a bottle of water?

Typically, half an hour to two hours. After that, everything depends on the bottle’s capacity and the temperature in the freezer.

After two hours, a one-liter tank will harden.

Water, as we all know, solidifies at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • So, if we fill a half-liter tank with it and position it in front of the frosting camera at the right temperature, we can be certain that it will be all-ice after thirty minutes.
  • On the other hand, a one-liter bottle will take longer and, if placed in a freezer with the appropriate level of cold, will transform into ice after two hours of non-stop freezing.

You may determine the freezing time for a three-liter container and up to as large a tank as you require.

Colder freezers will cause liquid to solidify faster depending on the temperature rate within.


A regular 16-ounce plastic bottle of room temperature water takes 1.5 hours to freeze in a standard freezer. Of course, the size of the bottle will have a significant impact—naturally, the faster the water within the bottle freezes, the smaller the bottle.

If you use a regular home freezer, the water within a tiny 8-ounce bottle of water will freeze in about 30 minutes, while the water inside a 1-liter plastic bottle will freeze in about 2 hours.

How to make water freeze faster

focus photo of round clear glass bowl

Here’s what you should do if you need ice quickly, such as for a party or a hot day. Even though it takes 3 to 4 hours for the water to freeze, you can speed up the process. There are six techniques to speed up the process.

Place in a plastic bottle to freeze.

Follow these steps to fast freeze water:

Reduce the temperature of your freezer. For example, change the temperature from -24°C to -11°C. It can take an hour or more for the freezer to go down to 11°C.

Fill plastic bottles with water and set them in the freezer. Wait at least two and a half hours and 45 minutes. The water in the bottles should not yet freeze. If frozen, your freezer’s temperature controller is faulty, a common problem with older freezers.
Take the water bottles out of the freezer. If you don’t do it smoothly, you’ll sabotage the process.

Give one bottle a hard knock or jolt on its side, and the water inside will instantly freeze.
Repeat with the remaining bottles. You must break or chop up the plastic bottles to use the ice. You should have cylindrical ice cubes available for use in whatever way you see fit.

Water frozen in a tray or cookie sheet freezes faster than water frozen in a plastic bottle. This is because the tray’s surface area exceeds the bottle’s surface area. This is because the water in the tray has a larger surface area in touch with the chilly temperature than the water in the plastic bottle. This causes the water to freeze faster.

Use bottled or distilled water.

Use only bottled water. Many contaminants in tap water interfere with the crystallization of water molecules. Because distilled and bottled water has fewer contaminants, they freeze faster.

Use metal trays instead.

Metal trays are superior to plastic trays for freezing water because they transmit heat more efficiently. Use copper trays if you can afford them. Copper conducts heat more quickly than other metals.

Pre-chill the ice cube trays

Fill your freezer with empty metal ice cube trays. Take them out and fill them with water when ready to manufacture ice. Then return them to the freezer. The water will freeze faster due to the cool surface of the ice cube trays.

Boil water, then freeze it.

Boiling water freezes faster than room temperature water, according to scientific research. It’s known as the Mpemba Effect. This is still being debated scientifically. However, others have proposed five reasons why heated water freezes faster. These are the theories:


Convection currents form when water on the container’s edges and the top surface cools, forcing it to sink. When this occurs, warm water rises to replace the cooled water. As a result, convection currents are stronger in warm vessels. These influences are cooling rates.


Evaporation causes more water molecules to be lost in a container filled with heated water, resulting in less water freezing.


The freezing point of water is 0 degrees Celsius. However, there are situations when water becomes colder before freezing. This is known as supercooling. Ice requires a nucleation site, such as an air bubble, to develop. Therefore, warm water may experience less supercooling than cold water.

Gases that have dissolved

Cold water has more dissolved gases than warm water. Therefore, some academics believe that the current circumstance may impact cooling rates. However, they are unsure of how this occurs.

Frost thawing

Frost works as a natural insulator. This could explain why icy cold water maintains heat better than a warm container with melted frost on its sides.

Is it possible to freeze water in a home freezer quickly?

Yes, you may use your regular home freezer to freeze water quickly.

Here’s how you can go about it.
Fill a bottle halfway with water.

How to use your normal freezer to shorten the freezing time

Using these three approaches, you can shorten the time it takes to freeze water. This experiment requires no special equipment other than your home freezer. Purchase some bottled water, ideally distilled, for maximum impact.

Method A

  1. Place the bottled water in the freezer. Allow it to sit for 2 hours and 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the water bottle from the freezer. The water inside the bottle is still liquid, but it has already dropped well below freezing.
  3. Place some ice crystals in a small basin. Remove the bottled water cap and pour the supercooled water over the ice crystals. You’ll notice that the water you pour into the ice rapidly freezes. This approach can be used to create beautiful ice sculptures.

Method B

  1. Use Method A’s steps 1 and 2.
  2. Pour the supercooled water from the bottle into an empty glass of water.
  3. Place an ice crystal in a glass of water and watch as the liquid instantly turns to ice.

Method C

  1. Do Method A’s steps 1 and 2.
  2. Pour the supercooled water into an empty cup.
  3. Place a piece of ice crystal on top of the water’s surface and watch the water rapidly turn solid ice.

It is possible to create ice that melts more slowly.

Rather than making ice freeze faster, another option is to make your ice melt as slowly as possible. You’ll need less ice to get through your party this way. So, yes, it is feasible to create slow-melting ice!

Here are some pointers:

  • Make ice using cooked water: You can remove air bubbles and contaminants by boiling your water before making ice. This will slow the melting process and result in more translucent ice.
  • Add salt to your water: If you add salt to your melting process, it will take longer to melt. However, remember that it can also slow the freezing process, so if you need ice quickly, don’t try this method!
  • Make a lot of ice cubes or spheres: The smaller the surface area of an ice block exposed to air, the slower it melts. This means that little cubes melt faster. Use an ice ball maker to create lovely, round icy spheres that melt gently for the ultimate ice.


To summarize, how long does it take for the ice to freeze? How long does it take to freeze ice cubes? In a normal ice cube tray of water, the ice takes roughly 3 to 4 hours to freeze. The temperature is 0° F (-18° C) in a normal freezer.

If you fill the slots in the ice cube tray with room temperature water and place it in the freezer, it will take three to four hours for the water to freeze. If you use a metal container, a smaller container, or a freezer with a lower temperature, it will take less time to freeze.

In roughly 1.5 hours, water in a typical water bottle will freeze. This is for a standard 16-ounce plastic bottle of room-temperature water in a normal freezer.


Is it true that cooked water freezes faster?

According to our research, not all aqua solidifies in the same way. Even if water molecules react similarly to frost, the final result appears after a different amount of time.

If the liquid were initially pure (for example, distilled or filtered water), its surface would freeze faster than water received straight from the tap.

The most perplexing aspect of this problem is that simmering or plain hot water hardens faster than cold water!

Science has yet to discover the correct answer to this question, and no data exists to describe what this impact is related to.

Which liquid freezes the quickest?

According to science, aqua is the only liquid known on Earth that freezes faster than all other liquids.

Science explains this occurrence by stating that water is an originally pure liquid because it has no additions or other components. Instead, it consists solely of hydrogen and oxygen.

As a result, it hardens fast and easily after coming into touch with frost.
In addition, scientists determined that simmering H2O transforms into ice faster than its cold equivalent when subjected to heat.

How long does it take to freeze the juice?

Some individuals believe that juice because it is aqueous, chills as quickly as H2O.

Unfortunately, it is time to irritate you since fruit juice (like any other sort of this drink, such as berry or vegetable juice) requires more time in the frosting camera to have any meaningful effect!

The shortest time required for a packet of fruit beverage to harden is roughly six hours. Thus the best thing one can do to shapeshift the juice into ice is to place it in front of the frosting camera overnight.

How long does it take for water to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit?

Essentially, the explanation is that the larger the tank, the longer it takes to shapeshift into ice. However, the temperature of the liquid before it was placed in front of the frosting camera is also important.

Water, as we all know, freezes best at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So, after three to four hours in the frosting camera of the fridge, a small bit of the aqua usually freezes.

However, the effect will depend on another component, which is the cleanliness of the water. According to scientists, pure water (such as distilled or filtered water) hardens the best.

What is the temperature at which pure water freezes? At temperatures below 32° Fahrenheit, the pure crystal water will freeze. If the water is not clean or if you are in the highlands, the freezing point of the water might rise to 35° – 45° Fahrenheit.

How long does it take for the ice to form on a lake?

Knowing how quickly ice forms can sometimes be life-saving, especially in natural environments, such as lakes or rivers.

In such a circumstance, the answer depends on the basin’s size, depth, and surrounding air temperature.

Everyone knows that water freezes around 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the pond or lake surface will turn to solid ice once the air temperature reaches that value!

According to science, water is particularly good at retaining heat; the larger the lake/pond, the slower the water molecules will form ice.

As a result, a large lake will freeze after at least a week. Furthermore, we may frequently notice those melted wholes on the basin’s frozen surface.

According to scientific studies, an ice coating on the surface of such a basin grows one inch for every fifteen freezing-degree days in a twenty-four-hour period.


Jay is a health and wellness enthusiast with expertise in water quality and nutrition. As a knowledgeable advocate for holistic well-being, Jay successfully manages Type 2 Diabetes through informed lifestyle choices. Committed to sharing reliable and authoritative insights, Jay combines firsthand experience with a passion for enhancing health."